States of in-between: presence, silence, voice. An encounter with Ismet Prcic and his novel “Shards.”
Introduced by Moritz Müller
Ismet Prcic, Salem, Oregon
Mortiz Müller, HU Berlin, Winner of Southeast Europe Association's Award 2021 for the best Master Thesis
Ismet Prcic’s Shards (Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic, 2011) reenacts the Bosnian war as a struggle of perceiving presence and absence. The novel uses reiterated and reduplicated sequences to oppose the linear concept of time, to highlight states of in-between: the narrator suffers from dissociation and depicts past, future and present simultaneously. His traumatic conflict is mirrored in the clash of literary forms: fragmented experience, remembrance and oblivion cover up the border between documentation and narration, memoir and novel. While searching for a testifying voice, narrative therapy cannot guarantee truth for the narrative itself stays inconsistent. It rather finds introspective ways to deal with acts of violence and 1. silence, 2. empty spaces in a life’s story or biography 3. the crumbling distinction between reality and fiction.
Ismet Prcic (Izzy) was born in 1977 in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina and immigrated to the U.S. in 1996. His debut novel SHARDS was published in 2011 by Grove Press to critical acclaim, winning the Best First Fiction Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the LA Times and Oregon Book Awards, and many others. It was a NY Times Notable Book of the Year and has been translated into 10 languages. He also co-wrote the screenplay for the film IMPERIAL DREAMS, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and won the audience award in its category. It’s currently showing on Netflix. Prcic lives in Salem, Oregon.